You know I love Tees2Greens. But I have to admit that I do visit some other blogs and message boards because we just don't get the golf conversations, debates, and insights on a regular basis here. (of course I wouldn't trade 2Putt's contributions for the world!!) Many of the things I ponder and write about here come from those dialogues from other golfers around the web. What's been on my mind lately is a discussion about which players should be allowed on the PGA Tour.
I think his point was...no one wants to watch a guy play who's just trying to make the cut and get a paycheck. We want excitement, and if the stakes are higher you're going to get more drama. Bring on some more Nationwide Tour guys, allow more q-schoolers to have a chance...maybe there's more Monday qualifiers. But just get those "journey man" guys out of the way for some more enthusiasm.
I, of course, fought against this idea at first. How is it fair to kick out guys that have toiled and sacrificed to get to the Tour and take away their chance to earn a living? As a rooter of the underdog, I took offense at the claim that a guy 120th on the money list doesn't go out each week to try to recreate the magic and win another title. I love the journey man stories!! Maybe they're not flashy or drawing the spot light, but can we really be asked to believe that there are guys that are just content to be mediocre? And even if there are, is it really all about creating "the show" for the fans?
As I pondered what the goal of the PGA Tour should be, give players a venue to have a career or provide a source of entertainment for golf fans, I don't think you can have one without the other. The Tour can provide a great living for golfers because corporate sponsors are willing to invest in it...and the only reason they are investing in it is because they want to tap into the fan base that the Tour draws in.
The Tour's players and the Tour itself have ridden the wave of success never seen before because fans flocked to see Tiger Woods. No one really cared about Mr. #125 on the money list, heck, they probably didn't care much about Mr. #10 either. Everyone jumped on TW's coattails and from what I could tell, it looked like a pretty fun ride. I'm not saying that the Arnie & Jack days weren't frenzied, but the kind of money involved today makes it a whole different playing field.
But now that the high speed "Tiger Train" has been derailed for awhile now, it appears that everyone is finally taking notice of everything and everyone else that makes up the PGA Tour. And so far, it doesn't seem like we have a real front runner that can provide what Tiger did. Oh, there are candidates, but none of them have yet proved they've got the staying power that TW seemed to show from the very beginning.
So after my immediate defensive response to the idea that the Tour needs to be shaken up, I'm finding myself wondering if maybe there isn't something to the idea that more volatility in the Tour player status could lead to more interest by the fans and more excitement during tournaments.
Of course it could backfire. Many guys in the back of the pack have established fan bases that sponsors and the Tour want to tap into. And what if you let a college hot-shot that has some buzz on the Tour and then watch him tank week after week because Tour is nothing like a college meet.
Or maybe it would help golf exposure to have bigger name players or journey man guys on the Nationwide for a year or two and have them fight back - we love those stories, right?
But then I think of the players, who really ARE the Tour...what Tour guy would agree to cut off half of the Tour cards and banish an extra 50-75 players each year? Maybe the Top 10 guys, but just about everyone else could be Mr. #51 or Mr. #125 next season.
I don't know if this is needed, but what I do know is that the more I thought about it the more I wonder if maybe there isn't something to the idea of changing up the structure to give more guys a chance.
I'm pretty sure the 400+ guys who are on their way to Stage 2 qualifying next week would love the idea of playing for more spots than the 25 they offer up each year. What do you think?
Filed under: TIger Woods, Cathy Erickson, Mediocrity, Journey Man, PGA Tour. nationwide tour